By Innocent Anaba
The Court of Appeal sitting in Lagos, Friday, convicted and sentenced Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, senator representing Delta North senatorial district at the National Assembly, to seven years imprisonment and ordered that his two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, be wound up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.
The court’s ruling followed the success of the appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,EFCC, which had challenged the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of a Federal High Court, Lagos, which on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the defendants of a two count charge of fraud and money laundering.
EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.
It argued that part of the money paid to the vendor, precisely a sum of N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd , was alleged to be part of proceeds of fraud.
The lower court in it’s judgment, held that the prosecution failed to call vital witnesses and tender concrete evidence to prove the elements of the offences for which it charged the defendants.
The lower court also said the evidence of PW2 “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank for purchase of additional equipment and as provision of working capital.
“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third and nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the judge said.
The Court said that a fatal blow was dealt the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10.”
The lower court consequently discharged and acquitted the defendants.
However, disastisfied the judgement, the EFCC appealed to the Court of Appeal, contending that the trial judge erred in law in dismissing the charges against the respondents.
Meanwhile, in its judgment, the Court of Appeal held that the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged, and upturned the decision of the lower court.